Patient Moving - Part 2
For the second installment of our short series on patient moving, I’d like to look at a very common situation for EMS agencies. You respond to a call for help for any number of medical complaints requiring transport to the hospital. The patient is an elderly woman of average size. She is weak or dizzy or both and cannot stand to move herself to the stretcher. She could be on a chair or sitting on the floor.
The conventional approach here is to grasp under the patient's arms and lift her to where you need her to be. You may lift her to a standing position or your partner may assist by lifting her legs and the two of you move Mrs. Smith directly to the stretcher. While EMS providers have been doing it this way forever, there are some real concerns to consider with this and similar methods. For one, depending on the patient’s size and physical condition, this method of moving her may result in unnecessary discomfort or even injury. From skin tears to broken bones, injuries do occur from the way we handle people. Additionally, it is very difficult for the lifters to accomplish this task while maintaining an ergonomically correct posture. The number one career ender for EMS providers is back injury, and this has a lot of potential to end in one.
A good solution to the patient lifting problem is to use a purpose made adjunct to assist you. The Mobility Assistance Sling (MAS) made by B2 Products is just such a device. The MAS allows two EMS providers to safely lift a patient from any sitting or lying position to a “better” position – like seated on your stretcher! The MAS consists of 80” of heavy 1000D nylon material that is 9” wide and lined with handles. The handles allow the lifters to grasp the MAS – not the patient – and do so from the position that is most ergonomically correct for them. Additionally, the MAS has a plastic insert in the center which can be used to assist in sliding the MAS under a seated or supine patient. This insert also works to keep the MAS expanded to a full 9” wide so that it can’t bunch up and dig into the patient. Using a set of two MAS’s you can position up to eight lifters effectively around even the largest patient and lift safely.
About the author: Josh Beaulieu, co-founder of B2 Products LLC, has been a licensed practicing paramedic for 20 years and currently leads EMS for a small city fire department in CT.